Lessons in cycling from Alpkiteers Daniela Teixeira and Paulo Roxo
They used to say that once you learn to ride a bike you never forget. BUT, there are always exceptions to every rule, and this time I am the exception!
When I was a child, I used to be an adventurous rider. I had a beautiful red shining road bicycle and as time went by, I became a fan of riding fast. Still, I was too young to know the laws of physics, so one day making a speed descent followed by a sharp turn, I lost control of my red shining bike and as a consequence, a part of my body got red bloody shining!
Since then, the fear of riding a bike turned me to other sports and I didn’t miss bicycles in my life.
Being a climber, people laugh when I talk about this fear, and also because I am quite professional using an indoor spinning bike (I even did a spinning training course, to be able to teach it in my mid twenties!).
Since Paulo used a bike for training, two years ago as an anniversary present, I bought him… and me two bikes. After all we are now living in a beautiful mountain area, with awesome places to ride. Anyway, destiny said it was still not my time to get back. On my first attempt to ride, a large handlebar was not compatible with a neck problem I have, so I could barely enjoy an hour on the bike. I was forced to go for a narrower bar, but after that, I did not return to my bike until a couple of weeks ago!
Already in 2021, Covid gave us some extra time for training and we decided to use our bikes to have some extra workouts together.
The first lesson was… almost learning to ride. 2 hours of road and off-road trails went pretty ok, but the fear of descents was always present. The second lesson introduced me to some extra miles and some steeper harder descents, on rough trails (well, harder for me!). The third and fourth lessons went pretty ok, as the average was about 2h/2h15 on the bike, going faster and faster at every lesson, but then came lesson number 5!
As all the other lessons were feasible, I trusted Paulo to plan the fifth ride, without estimating the mileage or accumulated altitude. And so we started what would become a 43.5km journey, with an off-road huge descent that took us from 1552m of altitude to 537. As we descended my mind started to imagine what all we had to go up, and only then, close to the lowest point, I imagined what all we had to climb up. Down at the base of Serra da Estrela mountain, the roads and trails got us a bit confused, but we had no map to check if we were on the right way to get back, so we climbed some kilometers up, only to decide that the best - taking in account the long ascent we still had to do – would be to turn around and follow the road to the village where we would start our ascent. Time went by, and that was an unnecessary extra added to our workout that day. I looked at the time, 1h20 went by already and my previous experiences did not go beyond 2h10, and never with such a heavy ascent as what was expecting me. I knew my body was going to complain, because this time, it would be for sure much more than 2h riding. Anyway, what choice did I have? The car was waiting for us up there, and as we didn’t expected such a long ride, we had no food… and no water! To cheer my sporty mood up, Paulo decided to remind me “The real workout is starting now!” Should I scream with joy???
We started to climb, gently, sometimes steeper, sometimes more soft, but always climbing, nowhere to rest. The landscape was breathtaking, I knew it before, but this time looking up sitting in a bike, the glacial valley we were ascending looked huge and steep. My mind started to talk, sometimes asking me water, sometimes saying this is not a profitable workout and tomorrow I will not be able to run, sometimes telling me to keep going, not to give up, do it for the mountains… my mind talked a lot and only half way up, when the body assumes a robotic mood, I answered that I would only stop if I would fall.
It took us 2h to climb up to the car, climb up up up, nowhere to rest, only the last 2km were descending. When I got to the car my groins where sooooo sore that I could barely walk. And for the first time, the stairs in my house looked a long, steep… unclimbable mountain!
Well, I think my running leggings also didn’t help! Oh yes, I am an avid beginner on the bike, with no cycling equipment!
So, in the end the 5th lesson was?... not to repeat the 5th lesson!
Chapter 2 of this adventure was the miraculous recovery: protein, carbs, ice and medicine, meaning, 300g of meat as a part of a huge delicious hamburger (don’t know how, but I ate it all!), loads of ice in the groins and a powerful anti-inflammatory analgesic.
…and the next day I went running!
ALPKIT GEAR USED: Gravitas waterproof jacket, excellent light windshield for cycling.
ALPKIT GEAR THAT I DREAMED OF HAVING THAT DAY: Rhythm Thicky Jersey, Rhythm Elite Cycling Jersey and MOST OF ALL Rhythm Elite Bib Tight! Oh yes, I missed the Rhythm Elite Bib Tight!